What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Picture a cup of drip coffee, versus a shot of espresso. That’s basically what we’re getting at when comparing traditional marijuana flower to cannabis concentrates. These innovative cannabis products bring lots of unique benefits to the table.

Highly Potent Products

As the name suggests, concentrates are highly concentrated forms of cannabinoids, with potencies reaching as high as 95% THC. The effects of concentrates are felt almost immediately after inhalation. Due to the high potency of concentrate products, it is highly recommended consumers start with a low dose and take it slow.

A Cleaner Smoking Experience

Concentrates are produced by extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis flower in a process that typically uses a solvent, like CO2 or butane. During this extraction process, plant material is removed, and the THC and CBD compounds are isolated. Since smoking plant material is not ideal for our lungs, this provides us with a much cleaner smoking experience. On the other hand, some concentrates can contain residual solvents—so make sure the products you purchase are tested like LivWell’s.

Types of ConcentratesDisplay of cannabis concentrates shatter, crumble, budder, wax

Because “concentrate” has become the broad term for a variety of extracts, things can get confusing. Let’s lay it all out.

Wax, crumble, shatter, sugar, and oil typically refer to a concentrate’s texture. These textures are usually chosen based on individual preferences and method of use. 

  • Wax concentrates resemble the texture of candle wax. It’s often separated into other names, like sugar, budder, or crumble, depending on the consistency.
  • Shatter is a solid material resembling a thin, honey-colored shard of glass. When touched, shatter easily breaks into pieces, hence the name.
  • Distillates are a refined version of cannabis extract. These have a much more liquid-like consistency compared to wax or shatter, and are most often used in vaporizer pens.
  • Live Resin resembles the texture of wax or shatter. It’s a special type of concentrate created by freezing just-harvested cannabis before starting the extraction process, allowing the plant to retain far more terpenes. With more terpenes present, not only is the flavor and aroma profile significantly greater, but users also achieve a fuller psychoactive experience as terpenes interact with cannabinoids like THC and CBD in the body.